According to the statistics of the burglaries of my city, breaking doors to recover treasures is one of the favorite activities of human beings. This undoubtedly explains why the hack’n slash is almost as old as video games and how an expression formerly depreciative came to designate a successull type of game.
Like almost everything that displays dragons and swords on a computer screen, the hack’n slash come straight line from the role -playing game on the table. It was also in 1980 in a Dragon Magazine issue, an official revealed of Dungeons and Dragons, that we find the first occurrence of the expression: “There is a great potential for More Than Hacking and Slashing in D&D”
With other terms, such as that of “Munchkin” or “minimaxing”, it is associated with the very fighting-xp-optimization approach (or to say it more politely: “Door-Monster-Treasure”) of the game of role. Logically, it is used to designate the first action video games inspired by Dungeons and Dragons, like Golden Axe or Rastan.
By extension the term comes to describe any action game with vertical or horizontal scrolling in which we fight enemia with arms-to-body weapons, like Ninja Gaiden. And in the high spheres of “video game testers” (that is to say, at that time, the twenty-year-olds who tested games in the first specialized journals), the term retains a pejorative dimension: when a More ambitious game in terms of narration, gameplay or universe construction, whether it is a Zelda or an Ultima, we often compare it favorable to “hack’n slash “Which, themselves, boil down to their fights and its destiny for more muscular fingertips than brain.
DISORDER IN THE TYPE OF GAMES. Besides, at the release of Diablo in 1996, the press does not consider it as a hack’n slash but as an RPG, even going as far as not to recognize that it is about ‘A stupid click-click-boom-boom game. Trent Ward writes for example for Gamespot that if the character of the warrior “will appeal to lovers of action games” the Rogue and the magician are “intended for strategy fans”. A game controlled with mouse, descending in real time of the ancient Roguelikes in ASCII (that is what the RPG on PC was more hardcore), which was based on a system of strict rules rather than on the players of the player, could not be another Something that a variation, certainly a little combat oriented from Ultima. It took, for the term hack’n slash to take from its current meaning, the sequence of two events.
First of all, the appearance of the term action-RPG, designating these descendants of immersive Sims who have various degrees, from Daggerfall (second episode of the Elder Scrolls) to Deus Ex, were more and more numerous to mix elements From Role Playing Games and 3D real -time universes, so much so that they have become the norm. To differentiate these games from the heirs of Diablo II, it was necessary for its latest, a new name.
The second is precisely the release of Diablo II, which has registered in marble the codes of a new kind, of the possibility of modifying the objects by setting them from gems and runes to the division of the adventure into acts. Again, the term hack’n slash, this time associated for good with the games that we know today under this name, was used to distinguish, in a pejorative way, this kind of games from another considered more Rich: any “action” as they are, the Elder schools deserve the beautiful name of RPG, when the Blizzard casinos were only vulgar hack’n slash.
THE QUARREL OF HARDCORE AND MODERNS. If the Hack’n Slash after Diablo II have never really managed to break with their model, they have not stopped evolving. Some of the first major competitors sought to stand out by moving away from the Dark Fantasy side and the serious spirit of the illustrious Encitre (Torchlight), and others have renounced to the random generation for the benefit of a gigantic world Hand -created by developers (Titan Quest). But we had to wait for Diablo III (2012) that the first real breakup took place, for better and for worse.
Until now, the hack’n slash, for lack of a particularly deep or punitive gameplay, had the main difficulty rests on the construction of the character. It is to the knowledge of the effective builds that we recognized a good player and most of the skills choices were final or, at least, required large sacrifices of time or gold coins to be canceled.
Blizzard, with his experience with the MMOs, decided to break with this punitive character and further push the logic of incremental play by creating a game in which it was not only impossible to regress, but also where no choice would be final. The release of Reaper of Souls in 2014 further broke the nail by breaking definitively with one of the last elements imported from traditional role -playing games: the “Directorist” narration. No need to follow a story, we could now be content to teleport from one place to another in the world to grinder experience and objects, a level of difficulty that can be changed freely allowing to adjust the level of difficulty (and awards) with the desired experience.
But even the least hardcore of video game genres still has its snobs and certain, especially among the fan of Diablo II, criticized the new blizzard game for having broken with the complexity of traditional hack’n slash. It is notably with them that the excellent Path of Exile has its success, overcoming both the fidelity to the canons of old blizzard and complexity, with one of the most complex and passive skills system from the history of the video game. For the first time a hack’n slash was considered unworthy of the name for excessive simplicity. The times are changing.
I love the hack’n slash since I was very small. I watched Dad playing Diablo II sitting on his lap at the damn of my mom. It is true that I suppose that a game filled with demons and zombies is not necessarily the ideal for the awakening of a baby even if I am sure that it is no less harmful than certain programs for the Youth passing on television !!!
Anyway, I’ve started with Diablo II at 13 and I love it very much. Now I happen to replay it from time to time on his remaster released a few years ago, I continued on Titan Quest then I had to play most games released in the genre.
I also played Path of Exile and Diablo III and I don’t really understand this controversy. Diablo III when it was released was a problematic game but because of a sales hotel system that unbalanced the game and made it unplayable if you didn’t want to spend money. I think that’s what really hurt its reputation. Since it has disappeared and with the arrival of its Diablo III Reaper of Souls extension has been a much better game for me than Path of Exile.
Path of Exile is a very good game of course but to want to play it seriously you have to play with a wiki next to itself. To understand the economic system of the game alone is a nightmare for a beginner. With Diablo 3 anyone who can have fun with the start of the game. And for so much it is still deep enough to discover the subtleties of gameplay after several dists or hundreds of hours of play.
Diablo IV is scheduled for June, I can’t wait for its release! It will bring a real world open to the genre and lots of small novelties which will give a wind of freshness to the genre. I have not yet cracking to read all the previews on the net because I want to discover a maximum of things on D -day but what I could see, I want to play it.
If you like the genre I suggest you closely monitored it, for me it is part of my 2 expectations of the year with the new Zelda. If you do not really know the genre I advise you, even if it is not free unlike Path of Exile, to play Diablo III and its extension in addition it is available in a very good version on Nintendo Switch playable in Coop offline. With all this content you will have fun for hours.
PS: This is not a sponsored post!
Take care of yourself and you loved one and see you soon guys!
It’s been a while since I’ve written little stories. Here’s a little one to remind you that when you have a crush on someone you shouldn’t be too hesitant to tell him/her.
Her name is Apple. Like an apple. She probably has parents who have a lot of apple trees. Can you imagine a beautiful girl? Well Apple is even more beautiful than that. She has wonderful dimples, wonderful hair (red, but not too much) and she smiles all the time, even when it’s gray or rainy. In history class I am behind her and I admire her back. It’s a pity that the Bac test does not fall on Apple’s back, I would have been unbeatable. I try to listen to history, the one we should know, the cold war, the fall of the wall, the construction of Europe… All of this brings me back to Apple’s back. Her red hair over her green sweater. This afternoon: English! I will be on his right. So I’m going to work on his right profile, maybe my favorite. I will have to be discreet, especially not heavy! I would be sorry.
His name is Raoul. Still haven’t understood what prompted his parents to call him Raoul! It scrapes at the back of the throat, you can’t be affectionate with a name like that. “ My little Rara ! it can’t work. Too bad because he’s funny and rather cute, I can already see all my girlfriends starting to hang around him. Strangely he doesn’t realize anything, plus he seems shy. The Christmas holidays are approaching and I will spend two weeks without seeing him. It doesn’t seem to move him. This afternoon, during English class, I thought I saw him watching me. But nothing is certain, he could as well observe Coline who is sitting next to me. Coline is tall (I could say tall if I were naughty) and inevitably she overshadows me, you only see her, in the classroom, in front of the school, on the bus. It’s our benchmark, so obviously Raoul only sees Coline. It’s certain.
Sorcery objective: I have studied the problem well, the only way for Apple to take an interest in me is to use proven and risk-free techniques. I watched tutorials, consulted blogs there are many processes. In some cases it is necessary to obtain an extract of the person to bewitch, I had no intention of cutting Apple into a slice.
Get a recent full-length photo. Not easy either. She is not on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook, I would have to be able to take her picture discreetly without anyone around, so that she is not hidden by a Coline for example.
No, the most accessible way is the so-called “encirclement” technique. The principle is simple: you have to go around the home of your loved one 33 times. In addition to the LPs, you have to recite some kind of weird sentences that I printed out to learn them by heart. It must be Tibetan, I’ve never seen it but it looks like it.
I am scared. I don’t know why but I’m scared. I’m sure they’re all flirting with Raoul on their Instagram Messenger and company. They’re all stuck in their head, and I’m a UFO. No social networks, no Meme (yes I know what it is!), no TikTok and thumbs up that skip to the next video half a second after half a second. So I read, I think of Raoul, I eat chocolate, I think of Raoul. I wouldn’t crack. I swore to myself not to pry into his life using the internet and I would hold on. So I invent stories, stories with Raoul who comes towards me smiling, or who cooks or who walks in the forest. At the end of the story, Raoul takes my hand, he says kind words to me (I don’t know what in fact, it’s up to him to find the right words) then he approaches my mouth and kiss. Pfff I look clever making me stories of princesses and charming princes who come to kiss me. Prince Raoul ! it doesn’t sound very good. I don’t know what sounds good with Raoul. Sometimes I imagine that it’s him who’s sleeping, on the beach, and I take advantage of his closed eyes to kiss him.
I can’t stop learning the magic phrases by heart. There are about fifteen in all, each sentence is made up of about ten words that look something like this: KAFALOUMIKOLOPARA MIPOULARISOTOALAPOELE etc. Fifty times that I reread these damned sentences, I’ll never get there! Not to mention that I’m going to have to recite them while I go around Apple’s 33 times. Speaking of which… Pomme lives in the countryside, in an isolated house, with flat land around it and probably lots of apple trees. So 33 times around the property, I calculated, that’s 66 kilometers, to do in one go otherwise it won’t work, the tutorial is formal! I decided to do the 33 bike tours, in 4 hours it is possible. I would get up very early, my parents would still be sleeping and, keeping a good rhythm, I would be finished before going to class. People will think that I left for high school very early. I’m almost to the point on the last evening Tibetan phrases to repeat. I should have taken Tibetan as a second language for the Bac.
Apple’s dad finishes shaving, it’s still dark and he leaves for work in 30 minutes. Back in the kitchen, standing behind the window, he drinks his coffee, staring into space. He sees in the distance a young cyclist pedaling at a brisk pace. The young man is holding his handlebars in one hand and sheets of paper floating in the wind in the other. The picture makes him smile. After getting dressed, Apple’s dad goes back to the kitchen, he thinks amused of this cyclist who is perhaps revising his lessons on his bike. He turns off the light and does not notice that the same cyclist is going back to the same place always at the same pace.
Monsieur Pomme silently leaves the house which is still sleeping, gets into his car, triggers the opening of the automatic gate and says to himself that he should remember to change the orange flashing light of the gate, the one which starts up during the operation of the leaves. He quickly crosses the gate without bothering to look at the traffic, because there is no traffic in the rue de Pomme. Except that morning, at 6:30 a.m., at the precise moment when Raoul, his nose buried in his papers, pedals vigorously, articulating his 24th MIPOULARISOTOALAPOELE. The shock is terrible, the bike becomes folding for the occasion, Mr. Apple’s car is badly dented and Raoul is lying on the road.
Dad is in the hall yelling on the phone, he’s yelling at someone who obviously doesn’t understand that there’s an accident and that help needs to be sent quickly. I rush in pajamas in front of the house. There, in the street, I see a twisted bicycle and a boy lying on its side. I remain frozen by the scene that I discover: Raoul, My Raoul, he is there, lying on the macadam, his eyes closed. I rush over to him, take his head in my hands and I don’t know what’s gotten into me, I slowly approach his mouth, I kiss him. So slowly he opens his eyes, he kisses me in turn and whispers something weird, probably Tibetan. I don’t care, it’s up to him to choose the right words.
Today I wanted to talk to you about an old film and to be old it is old since this year it will celebrate its 101 years. Well, as you read the title you already know that I am talking about Metropolis.
If you haven’t seen it yet or want to see it again, I’ll post it to you at the very end of this article.
It is a film which has left its mark on the cinema until today and yet even if today it is considered an absolute masterpiece, it was in its time a critical and commercial failure. In this article I will explain why.
From Caligari to Hitler, Siegfried Kracauer :
“Maria’s proposition that the heart should mediate between the hand and the brain could have been formulated by Goebbels as well. He too appealed to the heart for the purposes of his totalitarian propaganda.”
German cinema has had two great golden ages in its history. There was the New German cinema which goes from the 60s until the beginning of the 80s, but it was also entitled to a very prolific cinema during the 20s, that is to say under the Weimar Republic. Germany suffered a terrible defeat in the First World War, but its cinema was not greatly affected by the sanctions. On the contrary, it becomes one of the hubs of the seventh art.
And it was during this period that a new film was released, a founding work in the history of cinema. If today it is unanimous among critics and historians, Metropolis was a disaster both in terms of criticism and its profitability. The work has led to intense debates starting with its ideological message. Marxist film for some, fascist for others, what is it really?
Fritz Lang is considered one of the most important directors of German and even world cinema. Born in 1890 in Vienna in Austria-Hungary, he went to Germany in 1910 to study art. It was after a stay in Paris that he decided to embark on the cinematographic adventure after having attended the screening of a film by Louis Feuillade.
His directing career really took off after the First World War. In 1919 his first film La Métisse was released. Will follow after a number of diverse and varied films from fantasy (The Three Lights) to espionage (Les Espions) through science fiction (La Femme sur la Lune). During this period, despite the defeat, Germany is one of the main artistic capitals of the European continent. Paradoxically, if Germany is severely sanctioned by the victors of the First World War, German cinema is very prolific under the Weimar Republic. It sees the birth of most of the most talented filmmakers and actors that the seventh art has known: Ernst Lubitsch, Billy Wilder, Marlène Dietrich, Friedrich Murnau, Emil Jannings or even Georg Wilhelm Pabst. In 1926, Fritz Lang embarked on the production of what is considered one of the most important films of his career, Metropolis. To compete with Hollywood productions, the UFA had a gigantic 2,200 m2 set built in the Babelsberg studios in Potsdam for the filming of this science fiction film.
It is difficult to know where it should be classified in the artistic movements of the time. Very often, we tend to link it to expressionism.
German expressionism, I had already spoken about it in two of my articles (here and there), is a movement which is characterized in particular by its very aesthetic use of shadow and light, exploration of themes such as madness, paranoia, anguish, double. Some of these characteristics are found in Metropolis. The theme of the double and the duality between good and evil is represented by the character of Maria and Rotwang’s Android, having taken on the features of a woman. There is also a very pronounced use of lighting and shadows, particularly in the chase scene between Maria and Rotwang in the city’s catacombs. But to label Lang’s work as expressionist would be going a bit too fast because he never accepted that such a label was imposed on him. Francis Courtade said of him:
“Lang has always denied having been an expressionist. We can understand it: a true creator does not like labels and on the other hand, Lang only made a film that can be fully qualified as expressionist. But expressionism, consciously or not, marked him”
In fact, Metropolis draws a little from three of the main artistic movements of the time: Expressionism, New Objectivity and Futurism.
The New Objectivity is characterized by a certain realism. The goal being essentially to socially denounce the living conditions of the working class, to criticize the bureaucracy and the political elite… It is difficult not to see the “Neue Sachlichkeit” character of Metropolis.
As for futurism, it is an artistic movement that appeared in Italy in 1909. The leader was called Filippo Marinetti. Futurists exalt technological progress and its triumph, industrialized cities, violence… There too, the influence is very clear. Metropolis is a film set in a futuristic city where technology is everywhere.
Joh Fredersen, the master of Metropolis and Freder’s father, plots alongside Rotwang, a mad scientist, to stop the workers’ whims. He hopes to rely on Rotwang’s new creation, a robot. Joh asks the mad scientist to kidnap Maria so that his machine can take on his form and thus maintain his hold on the workers. Rotwang has other ideas in mind. Admittedly, he kidnaps the girl but will use his robot to cause a new revolution and overthrow Fredersen.
As we said, Fritz Lang drew a lot of inspiration from Futurism in the staging of Metropolis. It is true that we find the themes of machines and technological progress. But unlike the latter, the German director has a very different vision on this subject.
Let’s start at the beginning, we have a futuristic city. To make it work, you have to make the machines work. In this case, it requires a workforce, a proletariat, those whose only thing is their labor power. They are alienated by their work. What is the first scene where we see the proletarians in the film? They appear for the first time at the time of the relief, that is to say the change of team for the maintenance of the machines of the city.
Workers are an integral part of this vast machinery. They are one with her. When you see them for the first time, their gait is completely mechanical. These individuals are no longer living beings, they are cogs, objects. They are replaceable, when one of them falls ill, asphyxiated by the steam from the machines.
Technological progress would not have made it possible to improve the lot and the human condition. All life has disappeared in these human bodies. They now serve as food for their own instruments of work. The machines become deities serving body and soul their new masters. Workers are sacrificed in the manner of pagan rituals. These human beings are now machines, one with the rest of the architecture and these different mechanical components.
Conversely, the world of the wealthy is a real paradise. Technology has led to the improvement of the living comfort of part of the population, the ruling class of the city. As for the children, they have fun in the vast gardens alongside the young girls, play sports…
From the first scenes of the film, Fritz Lang builds an opposition, a duality between two worlds, something very usual in an expressionist cinema. When the world of the bourgeois lives in light and greenery, that of the proletarians is a world of darkness, catacombs and underground passages.
Lang raises the question of our relationship to modernity and technological progress. The word “Metropolis” can literally be translated as mother city. Its function would be to protect, to ensure the safety and comfort of its inhabitants. Is this really the case? We have seen that no. The workers are unhappy, alienated by the machines of the city. Worse still, the haves and the proletarians are unable to communicate with each other. The dictator Fredersen turns a blind eye to what the working populations are going through. Metropolis is a dead city. She is in agony. This so-called “technological progress” actually leads to the separation and isolation of social classes. How to fix it in this case? We see very clearly in the film an opposition between paganism and Christianity.
When Freder goes for the first time to the underworld of the city, the machines transform before his eyes into a terrible pagan deity, Moloch. Quoted in the Bible, Moloch was best known for his rites which consisted of sacrificing children in the fire. Rotwang too, although scholarly, is much more like some kind of wizard. Behind his robot, we can see a pentacle. He would therefore appeal to supernatural and occult forces. Of course, the most important being the legend of the Tower of Babel evoked by Maria in the middle of the film. Let’s take a closer look at this legend. The Tower of Babel was within the will of men to touch the sky. This technical prowess greatly displeased God who decided to scramble their language so that they could no longer understand each other. The parallel between Metropolis and the Tower of Babel finally becomes clear. Progress corrupts the hearts of men. It divides and leads to an impossibility to communicate. In the case of the legend of Babel, the incommunication is literal. Workers can no longer speak to each other because they speak several different languages. But in the case of Metropolis, the social classes of the city find it difficult to discuss and listen to each other. They speak the same language but find it difficult to understand each other. To build his futuristic city, Fritz Lang says he was inspired a lot by the city of New York where he said he felt a certain attraction but also a great fear.
What can such modernity bring? Is it an improvement, a progress or on the contrary to sow the seeds of a cataclysm? The city of Metropolis seems oddly dominated by pagan and occult powers which is quite paradoxical. Where technology and machines are usually attached to the idea of a society moving towards a better future, the society of the city has rather reverted to archaic beliefs and rites from the past. And this is opposed by Christianity. What Fritz Lang essentially criticizes is a society based on cold, calculating relationships without any emotional attachment. What the director is asking for is a return to more human relationships embodied in the film by Christian values. That the main female character is called Maria is not trivial since it refers to the Virgin Mary. Where she embodies innocence and purity, her robotic double, Rotwang’s man-machine, is much closer to a prostitute, a demoness, using her charisma and power of attraction to sow discord in the world. within the social classes of the city. She uses her feminine attributes to push the bourgeois to murder. Ditto for Freder Fredersen, although he comes from the ranks of the wealthy, his role in the film is very close to that of Christ, the one who will bring love, reconciliation and peace to Metropolis.
But what does all this mean? The city of Metropolis would allude to the industrial revolution. Although it is inspired by New York, it can equally symbolize the city of Berlin, one of the main industrial capitals of Europe. One would have thought that it would lead to an improvement in the comfort of life. But societies are not built on such foundations. While many consider human problems solved through progress. Rotwang did not understand this. He was convinced that it would solve all the problems but the end will prove him wrong on this point. The whole film is built on an opposition between the organic and the robotic, Christianity and the occult. We tend to forget what is essential in building social cohesion that technology can never provide. It forgets to take into account love, the sharing of common values, a spirit of cohesion and solidarity, a certain understanding despite the differences in social class. By wanting to rely too much on technology, we forget the most essential thing, what makes us human beings.
From everything I have written previously, one can ask the question of the political message behind Metropolis. Is it a Marxist work defending the class struggle? If I wrote this article, it is partly because of the video of Durendal on this same film. Raging about the success of the films Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019) and Joker (Todd Phillips, 2019) which in his eyes insinuates a hateful vision of the rich, he decides to show what he thinks is a better reflection on the fight classes. What is it really ? Is Metropolis a Marxist film? Let’s take a closer look. The working masses revolt following the manipulations of the mad scientist Rotwang and his robot, the two antagonists of the work. This revolution leads to significant damage and deaths. The class struggle leads to flooding in the underground city where their children are safe. Freder and Maria, the two protagonists of the film, do not advocate the struggle and the uprising of crowds.
Instead, they propose to reconcile the two parties, the proletarian and bourgeois classes. The class struggle is therefore presented in a pejorative way in Metropolis. The message of the film is after all that the mediator between the head and the hands must be the heart. This is about class collaboration, a political concept most often associated with fascist movements. The idea is quite simple. Fascists are nationalists in essence. They believe that nothing is above the interests of the nation. The class struggle, on the contrary, considers that the concept of nation is a chimera which denies the conflictuality and the balance of power within society. The Marxists finally turn out to be enemies of the fascists who can only lead to the weakening of the country or even its destruction. Faced with the division that can result from struggles between social classes, fascism offers an alternative. Instead of going through revolts, we propose a collaboration between the ruling classes and the ruled classes. This principle of organization of the company therefore implies the establishment of a cordial agreement, something to which Maria and Freder fully adhere.
Fritz Lang was not a very politicized person at that time, although he was probably a nationalist. The writing of the film was however entrusted to his wife, Thea von Harbou, very close to Nazi circles. She will join the NSDAP in 1934. Lang never accepted the morality of Metropolis:
“Personally, I don’t like the movie very much. We can no longer say today that the heart is the mediator between the hand and the brain. It’s wrong, the conclusion is wrong, I already didn’t accept it when I was making the film.
What is now considered his masterpiece will be a commercial oven. He will nevertheless attract the attention of the main National Socialist dignitaries, starting with Goebbels… and Hitler. He wanted to make Fritz Lang the official filmmaker of the Third Reich, something he refused. What we can in any case say on this subject is that the German filmmaker probably had a very limited political awareness, not knowing at that time what Nazism could constitute as a danger. So to come back to Durendal’s vlog, Metropolis is not an anti-fascist work. He will never read this article but I wanted to come back to it so that I could correct it.
One would think that the film does not fit into Fritz Lang’s themes because of its history. However, even if the filmmaker did not adhere to the ideology conveyed in Metropolis, the fact remains that he continues in the development of the themes that run through his filmography. We already find an expressionist influence in the field of lighting. We can also note a notable interest in architecture, Fritz Lang studied architecture, and knew how to have control over the models and sets of the film, which is far from negligible because of the importance of the city of Metropolis in the plot of the work. Significant work on the sets and models has been carried out on this point.
And finally, there are all the themes that run through his work. Lang’s stories are real tragedies. Tragedy is a genre of theater featuring characters struggling against their human passions and their destiny. Lang is convinced that an animality is present within man, of impulses that can lead to his destruction and of all civilization. The drive that most interests Fritz Lang is the death drive (but not only). Film writers are almost all influenced in one way or another by their own personal experience. If this impulse which tends towards death can bring to mind the horrors of the Great War and of the 20th century, Fritz Lang was very affected by the death of his first wife. At the time of the investigation, the police concluded that she had not committed suicide but that she had killed herself by accident. The circumstances are not very clear but it seems that she died following an argument with her husband when she discovered the affair he was having with his mistress at the time, Théa von Harbou.
Death, guilt, suicide and murder are at the heart of his works. Death is a major driving force in Lang’s stories. The characters in his films are very often driven by criminal and murderous impulses. M le Maudit begins with the murders of little girls by a horrible assassin. This tragic news item leads to the installation of an irrational fear, a paranoia of the inhabitants of the city where everyone suspects everyone and where we are ready to take justice into our own hands. In The Executioners Die Too, the film begins with the death of high-ranking Nazi Reinhard Heydrich. This political assassination provoked the anger of the German leaders taking the decision to execute a certain number of prisoners. Death leads to an outpouring of all human passions and madness, uncontrollable and irrational forces, which reminds us that we were at a time when psychoanalysis was very successful in intellectual circles. In the case of Metropolis, we discover that a female character is at the heart of an animosity between Joh and Rotwang. Both loved the same woman, Hel, who died giving birth to Freder, the city master’s son. The name of the mother is not insignificant. Hel was the goddess of Death and the Underworld in Norse mythology. But his premature death will plunge Rotwang into madness. Obsessed with the woman he loved, he will build a robot in her image. He will use his new creation to take revenge on Joh, to destroy Metropolis. His blindness can only lead to death and desolation.
But we find all other themes dear to the director, the manipulation of crowds by a superman but also the corruption and cynicism of political powers. Although he was not very politicized, Fritz Lang always had a certain view of the society of his time and therefore of the Weimar Republic. Very often, he evokes through his works the fragility of societies. One would have thought that civilization would have succeeded in domesticating human beings and thus preventing their animal part from taking over. For Lang, our society does not guarantee that our impulses can one day take over. In the worst, they can be used, instrumentalized by a superman. The best-known example in his filmography is the character of Doctor Mabuse. A mastermind of crime, his intention is to take control of Berlin by taking advantage of the inaction of the political elites to stop him. This diagram can also correspond to the figure of Rotwang. He uses his new creation, the man-machine to stir up human passions, his lowest impulses. Joh Fredersen does nothing against him because he is officially his ally, but the mad scientist is playing a double game and will destroy him in his dark designs.
The director and French film critic François Truffaut said of Fritz Lang’s cinema that his stories always plunged his characters into a moral solitude where the man led a struggle in a half-hostile, half-indifferent universe. Young Freder is also faced with this situation in Metropolis. He must face the indifference of his father as much as the destructive madness of the proletarian masses manipulated by Rotwang.
Despite its critical and commercial failure and its ideological content, Metropolis is today considered one of the greatest films of German and world cinema as well as a reference in the genre of science fiction.
Several works refer to, are inspired by or pay homage to Metropolis. We can cite Modern Times by Chaplin, The King and the Bird by Grimault, Blade Runner by Ridley Scott, the Star Wars saga with the droid C-3PO and or the city-planet of Coruscant. Its prestige does not only extend to the world of cinema, the city of Gotham in Tim Burton’s Batman or Dark City by David Proyas.
For the sequel, Fritz Lang will receive a proposal from Goebbels to direct the cinema of the new Nazi regime. Hitler would have loved Metropolis and the Nibelungs. Although some historians doubt the veracity of this discussion, Lang will leave Germany after the rise to power of National Socialism to go to France and then to the United States where he will continue his career.
He would only return to Germany at the end of the 1950s to produce the diptych The Bengal Tiger/The Hindu Tomb as well as the third and final episode of the adventures of Doctor Mabuse.
Guys! take care of yourself and your loved ones and see you soon!
It’s been a long time since I’ve done it but hey this time I really had to test this thing for you.
Well, Vermintide, I lasted 40 hours before not touching it anymore. Vermintide 2 will have me on board for 120 hours. What about Darktide? boarf, about fifteen hours, do you realize? Yes, that’s it: take a chair, I’m going to have to explain a few things to you and it’s going to be long.
Yes, sorry to welcome you with a big bucket of cold water in your face, but Fatshark’s youngest, who was supposed to arrive in conquered territory, has had his face grinded badly since his release. But let’s take things in order and start with his story. Here, your character is a prisoner sentenced to death. Oh, I’m good. Needless to make this face: this kind of sentences in the Imperium of Warhammer 40,000 are as frequent and commonplace as an identity check by the police in our country. A routine when Chaos, always him, will make an incursion on the planet where your character is incarcerated.
At this stage of the text, I imagine I have already lost 75% of you, so let’s try to popularize it a bit: you are a prisoner who is offered an amnesty in exchange for full cooperation with the local authorities, in order to stem the invasion of a force composed of drooling monsters and other zombified soldiers. Well, is it better like this? It’s crazy how we always get a mountain of Warhammer stories when you just have to remove all your “technical” language to see things more clearly. But back to our dear Warhammer fans.
Here, the story is written by Dan Abnett, oh so talented writer, at the origin of very good books like Eisenhorn, Gaunt’s Ghosts, to name only the most famous. And you know what ? It does not feel at all, since the cutscenes, poor, show a mute hero being rebuffed by a bunch of NPCs just able to remind him over and over that he is not trustworthy. Yes, cutscenes, because in Darktide, unlike Vermintide, missions mostly feel like side objectives, letting the story unfold through cutscenes triggered when your character goes beyond certain experience levels.
Come on, we’re going to try to reassure ourselves by saying that the scenario will certainly be developed over the course of the updates, but that doesn’t hide a really curious treatment and tone of the universe, with a few nods to the pop culture and other jokes, which rub shoulders with a strange soundtrack oscillating between the organ and a kind of technoid jam closer to cyberpunk than grimdark. Really strange. But let’s talk about the game instead, starting with its most visible novelty.
If you’re from Vermintide, you’ll be sure to notice that the characters are now player-created. Yes, finished the Inquisitor or the Witch with their predetermined appearance and history. At first glance, it will therefore be enough to choose a class: an Ogryn to take the blows, a Psyker to neutralize special enemies, a Zealot specialized in hand-to-hand combat and, of course, a Veteran who is gifted in hand-to-hand combat. distance. Combat is more gun-focused and, good news: Fatshark has it covered.
You will have noticed it: that makes four classes against five in Vermintide. A bit of a shame even if the more marked specializations of the Darktide archetypes will help to pass the pill. But that doesn’t mean our avatars are soulless shells, with each agent creation starting with a series of questions. Who are you ? What did you do that stood out? Where are you from ? So many questions to be answered for… nothing. Come on, there are those purple eyes reserved in the character editor for Cadians, but everything else seems totally untapped, with, for example, avatars that will exchange rather generic dialogues during their missions. Weird, weird. There remains, however, the character editor, which is quite complete and allows you to create your own convict. Choice of size, skin color, hairstyle, (many) tattoos… There’s enough to spend a little while there, before you jump into the deep end and go fight.
Inspired by Vermintide 2’s Chaos Waste mode, Darktide’s missions come with a few random modifiers, like this knife-cutting fog.
From the gameplay point of view, the regulars will be in their little slippers, the recipe for this “Left 4 Dead with loot” being taken up, so to speak, identically. In reality, the game mostly offers a change of pace with more gun-focused combat and, good news: Fatshark delivered. No need to dwell on it, but know all the same that the guns are very satisfying to handle and all offer their dose of punch, from the laser rifle ideal for sticking heads in the distance, to the big bolter which becomes enjoyable when necessary to clear a horde.
A point which however did not prevent the developers from improving the melee, with attacks which also offer much more sensations than those of Vermintide, whose donuts sometimes give the impression of hitting in the void. Here, every blow, whether delivered with a knife or a huge hammer, is accompanied by a feeling of startling heaviness and impact.
In Vermintide 2, a shop allows you to buy cosmetics by spending money or Schillings, a currency obtained during our games. Not enough to break three legs at an Aven: those who want to support the studio or have fun will go to the cash register for premium cosmetics, while the others will spend the in-game currency. This recipe, Fatshark has just abandoned it in favor of a much more classic store and even too close to free-to-play, with its monkey money to buy with real euros. You know, that same currency sold in packs so you always have a little savings left over, but not enough to buy anything else. Let’s be clear: it’s a disappointment, both for having a cash shop in a rather empty game, and for the feeling of having to pay to look like something, the cosmetics obtained while playing are not incredible.
If we have to remember one thing from Darktide, it’s that it has just been unmolded too hot. And for the rest ? Again, Fatshark seems to have approached the Vermintide recipe with tweaks at the margin, to make it more enjoyable. Here, it is the Psykers – equivalent to the Witch – who benefit from a final warning before burning themselves out with their spells. There, it’s a system of care stations that allow you to get back on your feet if you manage to bring them a battery. Something to keep regulars busy, while newcomers will see above all an effective mix between cooperative FPS and hack & slash. At least, until all the flaws and other gaping holes in the content are obvious to all of them.
If we have to remember one thing from Darktide, it’s that it has just been unmolded too hot. So hot, even, that I don’t know where to start. Come on, let’s talk about what will probably make everyone scream, with the absence of crossplay. Please note, we are not talking about a problem that prevents PC and console players from playing together, but about the impossibility of joining someone who is playing on the Gamepass version if you purchased the game on Steam. Really ugly, though the developers swear they’re working hard to deliver this essential feature as soon as possible.
The customization of the avatar is much more advanced than that of Vermintide 2. Too bad however that the few really nice cosmetics are reserved for the shop. In reality, all this is ultimately not much compared to the poverty of the gameplay, which today ignores the craft by limiting it to a stupid improvement of our equipment. And what about the loot, which is almost non-existent, the weapons offered at the end of the game being extremely rare* and replaced by credits. Yes, stupid credits, which should be spent at an equipment supplier whose list is randomly generated. If you don’t feel an ounce of excitement, know that everything is normal.
Difficult to explain such a step back, except that the Covid could have heavily affected the development of the game and forced the studio to put it on sale in this state to recover finances. A theory that will, alas, not make us forget this sad reality, namely a very simplistic Vermintide if we compare it to its elders, including the day of their respective releases. A game where nothing pushes us to chain the games. A game where you complete a mission, you pick up your credits, you lazily take a look (sporotriche) at the shop and “oh but you saw the time, well that’s not all that, eh but there are the road “. Sadness. The pure. The truth.
But let’s leave on a positive note: Fatshark has proven its know-how in terms of game as a service with Vermintide 2 and the foundations of Darktide today seem sufficiently solid to hope for a bright future. You just have to be more patient than expected.
Six weapons won in fifteen hours during this test.
On the technical side, if a 3060 runs the game between 50 and 60 fps with practically all the details at full blast, Darktide reinforces its “unmolded too hot” aspect with too frequent crashes to be honest. Launching a game is the promise of seeing one or two players who suddenly disappear due to a crash, a temporary freeze that desynchronizes the client with the server and other things. In short, there is still work to be done.
Today (it’s December 23 when I write these lines) I had a great day with Grandma! Grandma is passionate about theater and very often stages her favorite books with the actors from her club. Recently, with her best friend, they wrote a play on “The Witching Hour” the first volume of Anne Rice’s Mayfair witches trilogy which takes place in the same universe as “Interview With a Vampire”.
The story :
This is the meeting between Rowan Mayfair and the one who will become her husband, Michael Curry. Both having supernatural powers, they are approached by a certain Aaron Lightner, member of a sort of secret society, the Tamalasca, bringing together sorcerers and shamans. This is dedicated to the study of the occult. Lightner reveals to them the history of the Mayfair family and the curse that affects it: the Lasher spirit.
Willa, the actress who was to play Rowan is pregnant. In itself, it was not a problem but her doctor prescribed her forced rest. In grandma’s head, she had to be redheaded (I don’t remember what she looks like in the book) anyway, I was offered the role and I was bribed with cookies, how would I get could resist? (She knows me too well! >.<)
I’m not a confirmed actress so I admit that it scares me!
My day with Grandma?
I was having a nice dream when the smell of warm cookies woke me up! I open my eyes and a plate flutters under my nose. As I let my eyes adjust to the light, I jumped, surprised to see my grandmother holding the plate! That’s how I learned the news. Now that I think about it, luckily I was alone! (Note to myself, remember to put a sock on my doorknob the next time I have a “guest” to warn that this is not the time to surprise me like this, it could be rather embarrassing !)
My aunt joined us (she was requisitioned by Grandmother to help with the staging and setting the lights) and we had a good breakfast while Grandmother read me the script. I love seeing how passionate she is when she talks about theatre. Then we went to the club. There, I tried on costumes:
Yes as you can see, everything is a bit too big for me. (If I didn’t hold the dress back, it would end up on my ankles!!!) The costume manager assured us that the alterations won’t be too much of a problem.
Then I was introduced to the troupe. Many already knew me because I happened to help to paint sets from time to time or simply to support Grandma in her projects. However several members seem a little dubious to play with a deaf actress, obviously I have to prove myself. (It’s not going to help my stage fright go down!)
They explained to me the marking on the stage to know how to spot my marks and when to place myself there, then we played one of the scenes to have a practical example. I was stressed at first but I admit that it amused me even if it was complicated to know who was speaking and when. Certain character talking behind my back. Fortunately my aunt and grandmother were there and they understand the difficulties it represents for me. I will have to time each of these lines in the future to know when to cast mine.
Small good point for the person who did the casting (thank you Grandma): Our Michael Curry, Rowan’s future husband is… how to say… let’s say that the kissing scene will be far from torture!
After that we all ate together in a pizzeria. A way to create and maintain a bond in her troupe for Grandma. I learned a lot about each of them. Our Lightner, for example, was a soldier, he was discharged following an injury, he suffered from depression and became homeless. He climbed the slope following a makeover show, he found a job at the ticket office of a theater and that’s what made him want to be an actor and that’s why he joined the club. A very nice man who was quite paternalistic with me by giving me lots of little advice. I think I already love him! haha
For the afternoon, everyone has gone about their business after all it is the day before Christmas there are still preparations for many people. Grandmother invited me and my dear aunt to be pampered in a massage parlour. I got massaged by a lookalike of Henri Cavill in Man of Steel, I was a little sad when it stopped! “Come baaaaaaack! »
We ended the day in front of the fireplace discussing my character, the play and sketching some ideas for sets.
Yes I know, I have the best Grandma in the world!
Guys! take care of yourself and your loved ones, see you soon and have a happy holidays!
PS: Willa hvile godt og nyd din graviditet! Jeg ønsker dig alt det bedste med dit kommende barn.
PPS: Mormor du er den bedste og selvom du er helt skør, vil jeg følge dig i alt hvad du gør!
It’s been a while since I posted. I’ve been very busy with my work and I’m sorry but this week I’m going to try to make up for it by sharing my Christmas menu with you, hoping it can give you some ideas.
This years, I tried to make simple and relatively inexpensive recipes because I had the idea of organizing a meal for the children of the club who could not have had Christmas with the family but this year everyone was able to leave and that makes me very happy.
Starters / appetizers :
Chicken cucumber bites (45 bites) :
Preferably prepare the day before so that the chicken marinates well and assemble the bites the same day.
2 or 3 chicken or turkey breasts (can be tuna)
125g of yogurt
1 to 2 drop of tabasco (optional)
A pinch of mustard
½ lemon juice
½ red onion
A bunch of chives
4 to 5 chestnuts, crushed (remove it if you use tuna)
40g of crushed hazelnuts
Mix the lemon, yogurt, chives, a pinch of mustard, and the finely chopped red onion.
Prick the chicken breasts with garlic, salt them and cover them with paprika. Thoroughly cook the chicken until it can shred
Mix the chicken with the yoghurt sauce, the chestnuts and the hazelnuts.
The same day, cut the cucumber into slices, add the chicken mixture and finish if you want with a few sprigs of chives.
Mushroom stuffed smoked ham and parmesan :
A small piece of foie gras (optional)
Remove the stems from the mushrooms and mix them with smoked ham and foie gras
Fill the mushroom caps
Sprinkle them with parmesan and bake them for about twenty minutes until the mushrooms brown.
Serve hot or cold.
Foie gras on French toast :
Slice of bread or brioche
Raisin and/or dried apricot, diced
2 tablespoons brandy
Dip the raisins in cognac
Mix egg and milk
Soak the bread in the mixture
Melt butter in the pan and cook the bread in it
Sprinkle with cinnamon and some raisins
Place a thin slice of foie gras on it.
Main course :
Tournedos honey and spices :
4 tournedos (duck, beef or turkey)
2 tbsp of mustard
6 tbsp fresh cream
½ tsp of 4 spice powder
2 tbsp of honey
Salt and pepper
Mix the cream, spices, mustard and honey, wrap in film and chill for 1 hour
Turn on the oven at 60°c
Start cooking the tournedos in a cold pan after salting and peppering them on each side for 6 to 7 minutes.
Remove them to an oven dish and cover them with baking paper. Leave them in the oven for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat the spice-infused cream
Let simmer to thicken the sauce.
Serve the tournedos with the sauce.
Mashed potato and hazelnut :
1kg boiled potato
25 cl Fresh cream
1 tsp hazelnut or walnut oil
A finely chopped onion
Mash the hot potatoes with a fork
Add the fresh cream, crushed hazelnuts, hazelnut oil and onion and mix well.
Lamb’s lettuce salad, caramelized walnuts and grapes :
1 tsp of sugar
Raisin or fresh
1 tbsp of mayonnaise
Melt the sugar in a pan without stirring it, add the walnuts and coat them well.
Mix yogurt and mayonnaise
Wash the salad and mix it with the sauce, raisins and nuts.
My mom’s tangerine Christmas cake :
Finally, I offer you a recipe that is close to my heart because it was my mom who made me these little cakes during the holidays. I hope you like it as much as I do!
0.5 packet of baking powder
2 tbsp. rum
1 tbsp. tangerine juice
The zest of 2 tangerines
Icing sugar for decoration
Preheat the oven to 180°C
Cream the butter, add the sugar then the whole eggs one by one and continue beating. Then add the sifted flour with the baking powder, the tangerine zest and juice and the rum. Mix well to obtain a homogeneous paste.
Pour the batter into mini silicone kouglof moulds.
Bake 20 min.
Turn out onto a baking rack, let cool and serve dusted with icing sugar.
Jane jumped to the strident sound of her awakening. What day were we? Tuesday ? Wednesday ? She swivels on her stomach to wipe out cheerfully in her duvet. A large cup of coffee would undoubtedly help him to clear up ideas. She had vague memories of the day before. She took a deep inspiration to give herself courage and got up. The slippers that had slipped under the bed were far too big for her little feet. She noticed that her t-shirt was coming strangely at the knees. In the kitchen, she could not reach the shelf where the cup in which she usually used her coffee was located. She enlisted with an automatic gesture the coffee maker which emitted a complaint and a brief gargouillis. While her drink flowed drip and already embalmed the apartment, Jane headed for the bathroom to take her medication box. She was surprised by her own reflection. Planted in front of the big mirror, she found herself face to face with a little girl.
That morning, Jane was six years old.
-Damn, she sighed.
She had never come back so far in time.
Jane suffered from a rare and unknown disease that doctors simply called “temporal disruption”. They could have found a more learned name, a name in Latin which would make a little classy temporis disturbi temporis, or a name inspired by mythology as aeson syndrome, but no, they had not been more inventive. The first signs of the disease appeared the day after her fortieth anniversary. Jane had not first paid attention to it. One morning, she was radiant with a fresh complexion and the pink cheeks. She told herself that she had enjoyed a restful sleep and that her new night cream had done wonders. For once, advertising had not been false. But another morning, she discovered new wrinkles and multiple white hair. The differences with her real age had increased over the months. In the night, her body was transformed according to an unknown and mysterious process. He rejuvenated or aged in her sleep. At dawn, she discovered her age of the day helpless. She had been forced to leave her job as an accounting assistant when one morning she woke up in the body of an eleven year old prediction. She was far too young, even to solicit a discovery course. She had asked her boss to exercise her profession in teleworking so that she could shut herself up and not cross her colleagues who would have understood nothing about the situation.
Her illness had also turned her love life upside down. Jane had initially considered her temporary rejuvenation as an unexpected chance of enjoying lost time again. She had forgotten how beautiful she was at twenty. She who had been so complexed after adolescence! What a funny idea with hindsight! Jane returned to her jeans again effortlessly and was taken from a crazy desire to dance and get drunk. After dragging into two or three bars, she had managed to bring a beautiful philosophy student home who had debited her quotes from Saint-Augustin while undressing her penetrated. “As for the present, if he was still present, if he was not going to join the past, he would not be time, he would be eternity. Jane had not understood anything, but she had been delighted with her evening. Her one night lover had been in a less philosopher mood when he had discovered the next day a woman of seventy years nestled against him. He had cried out of gold and detailed like a rabbit. Jane had not held the experience and had since resolved to celibacy.
The little girl she was that day sat down with her cup of hot coffee at the table of her modest kitchen and swallow her drugs like a handful of candies. She began to believe that a vulgar placebo had been passed through her because the disease would get worse. She inspected her little pink hands. Six years today. How old tomorrow? What would happen if she woke up in the body of an infant or in that of a grabarity vieillarde? In both cases, she would be unable to move by herself. It had already happened that it remains significantly blocked at the same age for several days in a row. She shivered at the idea of staying lying in bed, unable to move, and die of dehydration or hunger, helpless and stuck in the boring body of a six -week baby.
This perspective froze her blood. Her coffee was already cold. She had to urgently consult Dr. Chronas. In her wardrobe, she kept clothes of different sizes. Over time, it had formed a wardrobe to overcome all her morphological deviations. She put on a flower dress size 10 years – too large, but too bad – and sizes 29 boots which she had recovered in a fair at everything. The doctor’s office was at the other end of the city. The car would have been the fastest means of transport, but Jane was far too small to reach the pedals and she did not want to be arrested by the police. It was a hit to be directly placed in childhood social assistance. So she took the metro by being as discreet as possible. Based in the crowd, making believe that she was accompanied by an adult, we might leave her quiet. She hoped that a poodle granny was not going to caress her cheek by asking her where her mother was, as the last time she had borrowed public transport. Fortunately, and after only a few intrigued looks placed on her, Jane arrived without incident at the medical office.
Dr. Chronas did not need to examine it at length to lead to this observation: he unfortunately felt overwhelmed by the condition of his patient. All analyzes carried out, radios and other blood tests were not anomaly in Jane’s organism. It had to be psychological.
-I am not a psychiatrist, but you may have somatized your quarantine crisis, announced the doctor learnedly.
Jane got up and kicked her in the shins. What a charlatan that one!
Let’s see, Madame Pellicer, stop behaving like a child! replied Dr. Chronas. You cannot constantly flee the passage of time!
Vexed, Jane slammed the cabinet door and began to wander in the city. Of course, she was afraid of the passage of time. She had nostalgia for the years when she was still a student, she regretted the innocence and the cheerfulness of her childhood. She would have liked to retain all these years in the palm of her hand, the years spent, but also in the years to come. The next decades were a nightmare. She refused that her body will change, that her movements become slower and painful.
Just live the present time, forever.
As it walked and the sun was declining, Jane’s shadow gradually lengthened. She crossed her reflection in the window of a hair salon.
Today I went to a vernissage for the exhibition of the mother of one of my friends who is a painter. it’s a little stuffy and it’s not with petit fours that we eat so I made us burgers with what I had in the fridge and here is the result! These can also be eaten cold if you want to take them to work or for a picnic.
CHICKEN BURGER PATTIES:
500g ground chicken (mince)
250g panko breadcrumbs, 1 egg
75g parmesan finely grated,
green onion finely sliced (~2 stems)
2 garlic cloves minced,
1/2 tsp dried sage,
1/2 tsp salt and pepper , each
2 tbsp olive oil,
4 soft burger buns or brioche buns,
1 avocado (big!) (or 2 medium)
60g /rocket / arugula or other lettuce,
2 tomatoes sliced,
4 slices Swiss cheese (or other cheese)
Mayonnaise, relish, ketchup or tomato sauce (to smear lid)
Mix Pattie ingredients in bowl, form 4 patties, 1.5cm / 3/5″ thick, slightly larger than the buns (shrinks slightly). If mixture is super sticky, either refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes, or wet hands or lightly spray hands with oil (I do this).
Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat, cook 2 min until deep golden, then flip. After 1 min, top with a piece of cheese and place lid on to melt.
ASSEMBLE: Split buns and lightly toast, smoosh a generous amount of avo on bun base, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with Chicken Pattie, then rocket/arugula and tomato. Smear the top bun with mayonnaise (or relish, ketchup, other condiment of choice) and place lid on bun.
Mona Chollet, Witches the Undefeated Power of Women.
“If you are a woman and you dare to look inside yourself, then you are a witch.”
The hooked nose, warts, incantations and potions… the witch has always fascinated and the cinema has portrayed her many times. From the cantankerous old queen of Snow White to the brave and valiant Hermione, her representation has evolved a lot in cinema as in history. She has long made children cry and unleashed the fury of men. Put aside, denigrated, burned, feared, it is the object of all fears but also the source of many fantasies. But doesn’t the fear of the witch come simply from the fear of the feminine, in its power and its marginality? Because indeed she appears to be strong, independent, single, sometimes old and childless, coming out of traditional beauty and the dictates imposed by patriarchal societies.
In its early days, cinema mainly filmed the witch as the main figure of fear and anguish. A true cliché of a storybook witch, she is then ugly and shown as monstrous: aged, wrinkled, crooked nose, malevolent and above all shown in opposition to the young, pretty and naive first. The classic The Wizard of Oz is the prime example, but Disney’s version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs or Sleeping Beauty really didn’t help boost its image.
In the 1960s, the witch was domesticated. She has a husband, a family, is a housewife, seeks love and validation. Her physique changes completely, she becomes cute, well-groomed and dressed, always at the forefront of fashion. Her happiness can only be linked to the well-being of her family and her husband. In short, the patriarchy has done its work! To give examples, Sam in the Bewitched series, Gil in Bell, Book and Candle or Morticia from The Adams Family come to mind.
Today the cinema appears very rich in terms of representations and has ceased to convey a single image. Gone are the old black hats and the broom, today they are sexy, go to school and fight with wizards, are scary, make people laugh, are sometimes evil. They are the fantasy of a whole generation, some dreaming of marrying Emma Watson or better of becoming Emma Watson.
For this article on this blog, I wanted to recommend two films that deal with the figure of the witch. Two styles, two directors and two different visions complementing each other rather well.
Suspiria – Dario Argento (1977)
I won’t go into the questionable and recent version of Luca Guadagnino here, simply because I have a lot of grievances about him despite an interesting treatment of the occult. Indeed he develops an approach centered on the power of magic and women, which differs from the version of Argento rather centered on the monstrous. The Suspiria of 77 tends towards the fantastic and the giallo, a genre which appeared in Italy between the 60s and 70s and which mixes murder, sexuality, fantasy, thriller, detective film and fantasy. It is mainly recognized for its particular colors, with a strong use of red, blue and yellow. The scenes are often outrageous and baroque, even extremely kitsch. If you want to know more, I refer you to the filmography of Dario Argento but also of Fulci and Mario Bava.
Suspiria is therefore an extremely cult film that any cinephile fan of the genre must have seen. It is the first part of the Three Mothers Trilogy, preceding Inferno and The Third Mother. This trilogy is entirely devoted to the myth of the witch. Suspiria tells the story of a young dancer making her debut in a German ballet school full of secrets. Given the theme of the chronicle it is not a spoiler to reveal that the founders and teachers engage in black magic. The witch is approached here from the angle of the macabre and the monstrous. They are real fairy tale villains, powerful but diabolical. The young dancers are filmed like children wanting to unravel the mysteries of this school and understand the issues. The school building, with its astonishing architecture reminiscent of art nouveau, is in itself a character in its own right. A veritable castle of stories from our childhood, it is a source of terror but above all of wonder, for the spectator as well as for the young dancers.
Dario Argento uses the baroque and the fantastic to underline the strangeness of the place and the events. He is helped by Goblin and his music which is certainly magnificent but very disturbing. Argento also declares “having tried with Suspiria to mix the world of the tales of Walt Disney and Grimm with the violence of The Exorcist”. For the photography, Luciano Tovoli accentuates the recognizable primary colors of the Giallo and delivers a work worthy of paintings, which accentuates the fantastic and hypnotic aspect of the film. He also draws inspiration from German Expressionist cinema in his use of symbolism.
The Witch – Robert Eggers (2015)
The Witch differs radically from the previous one in its approach as well as in its aesthetics. It comes across as more grounded in reality, colder, and really dwells on the folkloric portrayal of the witch. The Witch is the directorial debut of horror film prodigy Robert Eggers (The Northman, The Lighthouse) who has been proving his talent ever since. It shows us a Puritan family of the 15th century (and still the word is weak, next to the Le Quesnois family are atheists) driven out of their community and having no other choice but to isolate themselves at the edge of a forest. They will gradually find themselves confronted with strange phenomena and lose their footing.
The strength of The Witch is that it is not a work that is necessarily scary, but a work about fear itself. The fear that will plague an entire family and push them to destroy each other. The real threat is not the prowling witch but the fanaticism of the characters. Fanaticism that will push the characters to return the violence towards the eldest personified by Anya Taylor Joy, a young girl with a strong character, and accuse her of all the evils. Since she is beautiful and desirable, she can only mate with the devil. It is not innocent that The Witch is carried by a strong female character and at the dawn of her entry into adolescence, a pivotal period where the body changes and can appear as monstrous or sexualized. The monstrous feminine is also an important theme in horror cinema, highlighted by what is called the “Coming Of Age”, a subgenre that deals with the passage from childhood to adulthood and the loss of a certain innocence as well as the enhancement of one’s own personality. Like Carrie, Thomasin questions imposed dictates, sees herself sexualized by the appearance of her period and must face the gaze of her bigoted entourage.
The film therefore highlights the witch “marginal woman” wishing to emancipate herself from religion and patriarchy, here very well represented by the character of the father. Rather than strictly condemning acts of witchcraft, Eggers first exposes the disturbing aspects before rejoicing and exalting its power in the conclusion. Black magic appears as the creation of oppression, whether through folklore or extreme religious depictions of family. In order to document himself and provide a faithful historical representation, Robert Eggers has carried out meticulous research using period texts such as Malleus Maleficarum, a reference in the fight against witchcraft. Image the witch
“The witch embodies the woman freed from all domination, from all limitations, she is an ideal towards which to strive, she shows the way”
It started out as a routine affair. I never knew how to say no, especially to a pretty woman. I’ve known Grace for a while, and even though we just pretend like nothing happened, we both know the effect she has on me. And also the effect I don’t have on him, but that doesn’t stop me from believing it. So when she asked me to investigate the disappearance of Lilian and Carmen Bauer, two twins from her class (she’s a teacher), rather than telling her to go to the police, I promised her to meet me a little, when I would have finished my day. After all, I’m a detective.
It was dark when I pulled up in front of the Bauers. I didn’t try to be discreet, I wasn’t hiding. By reflex, I checked that all my night equipment was in place: flashlight, professional license and firearms permit. And gun in his holster. I had never used it, but I felt better with it than without, when it was dark. I walked down the driveway that led to the Bauers’ house. The automatic lighting has been triggered. A minivan was parked in front of the garage. Two car seats were installed in the back seat, it was in all likelihood the family car. But the Bauers had been able to leave with a second vehicle. Hard to be sure of anything, but I was starting to feel something weird, like a slight uneasiness. When I rang, no one answered. I walked around the pavilion, even in the dark I saw that the garden was really very well maintained. I tried to see something through the windows, in vain, the curtains were too thick. The bad feeling has not left me.
My tour of the house finished, I rang again. I was about to leave when, in an almost unconscious reflex, I grabbed the handle of the front door. To my surprise, it was open. Obviously, I entered, preceded by the beam of my lamp.
I was immediately hit by the smell. If you’ve smelled carrion once in your life, you’re unlikely to confuse it with anything else. My hair stood on end, but who knows why, I didn’t turn on my heels, slam the door and call the cops. I took out my gun and went in search of the corpses. I knew it was bullshit, and even if I had little chance of finding the murderer, I was going to massacre the crime scene. Because I had no doubt, at that time, that I was at a crime scene. The entrance opened onto a fairly wide hallway. There was a small piece of furniture and a wall coat rack. On the right wall, the cold light of my lamp revealed a family photo: we saw the two little ones, and the parents, blond, beautiful, slim, smiling. And a huge dog, a kind of Great Dane, all in muscles and jaws, lying nonchalantly in front of the children. I told myself that you had to be damn determined to tackle a family with such an imposing dog.
I kept moving forward. The hallway led to a large living room, I immediately noticed the mess. And the blood: on the ground, it was like a giant, horrifying and grotesque smear. And there was always the smell, which filled everything, almost material. I threw up. I had to get out of there, but the macabre power of what I saw and the hope of finding someone alive kept me from running.
The parents’ bodies were behind the sofa, at the foot of the stairs leading upstairs. The murderer had attacked them savagely, it was as if they had been devoured. I retched again.
That’s when I heard the growls. It was coming from above. It was clearly an animal growl, so I thought back to the big dog in the photo, and connected it to the savagery of the scene, and started to get a good idea of what might have happened. pass there. I hadn’t yet completed the mission Grace had given me, so I went upstairs.
I tried to walk quietly. The staircase led to a hallway decorated with children’s drawings. And there was blood, again, and pieces of something that I didn’t try to identify. Everything suddenly became silent. I stopped, listening. The silence continued, then the growls resumed, coming from a room to the left.
I moved slowly, the gun pointed at the door. The growls stopped, again. I walked past the door. She was ajar. From inside came an infernal chewing sound. I pushed open the door, and stepped back, illuminating the interior with my lamp.
It was not what I had imagined. The two twins were there, leaning over what was left of the big dog. The boy looked up at me, and he started to growl. His sister remained focused on her task, her head buried in the disembowelled carcass of the mastiff. I got dizzy, and all I could hear was the sickening sound of the kid’s jaws. Finally she stopped, and they both stared at me, their faces smeared with blood and raw flesh, with a look a little sorry, like two children caught stealing candy. I was not prepared for this. I had a second of hesitation, and the boy took the opportunity to attack me. The little bastard was fast, and he had time to bite my left hand before I blew his skull off. The bang stunned me. The little girl let out a scream and tried to get up, but she slipped on something slimy. She tipped back, her head hitting the corner of a chest of drawers. There was a sharp crack, and she went limp. Her body sagged slowly against the piece of furniture on which she had just broken her neck.
The house fell silent again. I caught my breath, and I remained without doing anything for several minutes. Dazed, I went back downstairs and left the house. Only then did I put my gun away, lit a cigarette, and started shaking.
I was in shock, and even though the brat hadn’t bitten me very deeply, my hand was hurting the hell out of me, if that expression was appropriate in this case. I couldn’t call the cops, I couldn’t. So I did the most ultimately stupid thing of the evening, during which I had nevertheless accumulated world-class bullshit: I went to Grace’s.
She took good care of me, as she always had. She took care of my hand. But after that, while I was drinking a pick-me-up, I felt a terrible twinge, and it was as if my arm was covered with molten lava.
Everything got confused, the pain pierced me, I became pain. And something else too. Visions of the two cherubs devouring the dog assaulted me. It was very real, and the smell was there again, in Grace’s living room, all around me. So I wanted her. Not sexually. Well, not just sexually. I took a step forward. She took a step back. Then I threw myself on her.
You might think that I no longer have any lucidity, but that is not the case. Unfortunately. I am still perfectly conscious, and I remember everything. On the other hand, I feel that my own will and my free will are diminishing as the hot lava from my bitten arm pours into the rest of my body. I know what I have to do now that everything is in writing. I still have four bullets in my magazine, that’s way more than I need. I’m gonna put an end to this dirty business, it’s the least I can do for Grace.
But before, I’m going to take a last bite, all that really made me very hungry.